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MA Needs Gov.’s Leadership on Offshore Wind Power
On Thursday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will give his State of the Commonwealth address. He’ll reflect on the successes and challenges of 2015 and lay out his vision for the year ahead. Given the highly anticipated energy debate unfolding on Beacon Hill, we’ll be listening extra closely to his words on the Commonwealth’s energy challenges. There is no shortage of debate surrounding which energy sources should power our economy into the future. Gov. Baker’s words will underscore where his Administration stands in the critical energy conversation underway.
There are three words we particularly hope to hear from Governor Baker on Thursday evening: offshore wind power. Embracing Massachusetts’ world-class offshore wind power potential is long overdue. Yesterday, the Baker Administration released the 2015 update to its Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. While the Commonwealth has made important progress on clean energy and energy efficiency, offshore wind power remains a starkly missed opportunity. We now have an unprecedented chance to change that.
Why Now is the Moment for MA Offshore Wind Power
Offshore wind power enjoys a broad, diverse, and growing base of support in Massachusetts. Business owners, ratepayers, legislators, and environmentalists continue to speak up for this critical clean energy solution and its many benefits that are within reach today.
- Vast Areas Far Offshore are Ready to Go: The U.S. Department of the Interior has designated an area for wind energy development far offshore that could power all of the homes in Massachusetts. To date, three experienced developers have competitively purchased leases to those areas and are eager to get projects up and running.
- Jobs! A commitment to offshore wind power will allow the Commonwealth to tap into the booming global offshore wind industry, one that can bring thousands of high-quality, long-term jobs to Massachusetts. The sheer size and complexity of offshore wind infrastructure requires that much of the work happens close to where it is deployed. America’s first offshore wind power project is currently under construction in Rhode Island – the project consists of only 5 turbines yet it still created 300 local jobs. Internationally, the offshore wind power industry supports more than 75,000 employees. It’s time for Massachusetts to get in the game and reap the economic rewards.
- Offshore Wind Power is Critical to Combating Climate Change: The Bay State sits on the front lines of climate change. Sea level rise, stronger storm surges, and coastal erosion increasingly put our coastal communities, wildlife, and habitat at risk. And the stakes are only getting higher. With Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s pending retirement, Massachusetts is about to lose 84% of its carbon-free energy. Our leadership now needs to decide how to replace that, and the choices are many. Offshore wind power is our largest home-grown clean energy solution, one that can ensure a secure and responsible energy future. It needs a major role in our next energy chapter, a chapter which can start today.
Governor Baker needs to hear resounding support for offshore wind power. He needs to know that his constituents are ready to embrace the clean energy off our own shores and keep jobs and our hard-earned energy dollars close to home. We have a unique moment before us. If Governor Baker commits to seizing the opportunity and the Massachusetts legislature follows with a bill that can make it happen, we could help lead America toward our next clean energy frontier.